Mission HydroSci

Exploring water in socio-ecological systems and scientific argumentation

Mission HydroSci (MHS), an innovative STEM initiative, is developing a game-based 3D virtual learning environment (3D VLE) for teaching and learning about water systems and scientific argumentation in blended or distance education. New national standards for science education (NGSS) call for students to learn core ideas embedded within engagement in scientific practices. Reaching these standards will be a challenge for the most highly resourced schools, but is daunting for students in rural or poorer communities. The MHS project seeks to build a game-based virtual learning system for reaching these standards that will impact the learning of middle school youth and serve as an example of engaging, effective learning that provides access to high quality learning experiences for students no matter what their circumstances.

There are 5 project goals:

  1. Develop a game-based 3D VLE for learning hydrologic systems and scientific argumentation.
  2. Develop learning analytics system to provide in-game assessment and feedback to students and enable teacher monitoring and efficacy to intervene as needed.
  3. Provide teacher professional development and support to ensure effective implementation.
  4. Deliver and evaluate MHS in partner schools.
  5. Build new knowledge about game-based learning, analytics and teacher support for effective VLE.

The project goals will be met through an iterative process of design, development and testing with an expected substantial field test in 2018.

The project outcomes include increased student interest in technology and science, water systems and argumentation competencies, and meeting NGSS, as well as high levels of teacher efficacy.

Support for MHS comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s I3 and IES programs, The RGK Foundation, the MU College of Education, the ReSTEM Institute, Global Personalized Academics, and generous personal gifts from Richard Miller, Donald Flora and John Bogdanor.